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To Europe and Back: The Three Decades of Kurdish Struggle in Turkey


Europe has been a primary actor in Turkey's democratization process and for the Kurdish political struggle carried out simultaneously by the PKK and civilian actors since the late 1980s. The European Union and the European Court of Human Rights have had an indispensable role in raising awareness and documenting the plight of the Kurds on the one hand and inducing Turkey to embark on political reform on the other. Since the mid-2000s, however, the dynamics between Europe, the Turkish government and the Kurdish political movement have drastically changed, diminishing the role, legitimacy and significance of European institutions in Turkey and forcing the Turkish state and the Kurds to develop a "home grown" solution to the conflict. While the "peace process" launched by the government in late 2012 raises hopes for a peaceful settlement, the mismatch between the parties' expectations render it extremely fragile.

Paper produced within the framework of the project Turkey, Europe and the World. Publ. in IAI Research Paper 9.

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